My computer is ruling my living room!
January 20, 2007 6:30 AM   Subscribe

Two notebook computers in the living room. How do I keep them out of sight AND on hand?

My wife likes everything in its place. We have two notbook computers and the only practical place for them is in the living room so there is always one sitting on each end table. This is roughly what the table looks like.

The power cord for each of them is always hanging out in front of the tables and gets in the way but we can't figure out any other way of organizing these things. They take up almost all of the space on the tables and get used all the time.

Is there something we can put UNDER the table to store them in that will also manage the power cord and look good (thats the important part, I don't want my living room to look like an office)? I don't just want to put them on the floor... Any ideas would be GREAT! Thanks!
posted by Thrillhouse to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I suppose getting end tables with drawers, or having drawers fitted to your existing tables, is out of the question?
posted by flabdablet at 6:35 AM on January 20, 2007

WOW I just went through this as well, yesterday in fact.

I just put mine away back in my notebook bag after I am done using it, and yeah she won but I can move on with my life and that buzzing in my ear has stopped.
posted by evilelvis at 6:49 AM on January 20, 2007

Best answer: We keep ours upright in a regular laptop case which is sort of hidden between the end table and the couch. When the laptop is in the case, the power jack is facing up so we just insert the plug when it needs a charge.

An upright laptop take up much less space than one laying flat. Maybe you can find a thin case for each.
posted by gfrobe at 6:51 AM on January 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

I keep mine on a console table that is behind a couch. I keep it in a shallow basket, sort of like this. Maybe you could place a basket beneath each table.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:18 AM on January 20, 2007

Go to a used/remaindered book store and find a couple large format books with nice looking covers, glue the pages together and carve out the inside and cut a notch for the cord. Depending on the how the sizes work out you can either keep the notebook in it while you work, or take it out, rest the book on your lap, and rest the notebook on the real book for a little lap table.

If you're more ambitious, you can make a decent slip cover out of an old book with cardboard, foam core and glue.

(You could also get somethign like a binder and print a cover for it.)

For the power cords, you can use a cigar/jewlery/nicknack box to hide them. Or repeat the book trick and keep a stack of books on your end table.
posted by Ookseer at 7:19 AM on January 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, Ookseer. Are you sure you're not Martha Stewart? That is a VERY interesting idea- albeit a bit ambitious for me.

I like the idea of keeping it upright between the couch and the table but I also like the basket idea... Maybe there is a basket I can find that will fit sideways against the sofa and I can just drop the computer into that.

Better yet, a foam lined wooden box that can rest between the sofa and the table with only the top fully open. The side can have a slot that faces out the back to guide the power cord. Hell, I can build that myself!

I love the hive. Thanks everyone! (I'm still open to other ideas! )
posted by Thrillhouse at 7:39 AM on January 20, 2007

Best answer: How badly to you want to hide it? The basket is a nice idea, in with the magazines. I keep mine, sometimes, on edge between an end table and the hifi rack. It's pretty dark in that corner so it is unobtrusive. An end table with a shelf underneath would work, but you would still see the computer. These shelves tend to accumulate magazines and books also. An end table which is more like a chest with drawers might work. Put the laptops into a drawer. Want them plugged in? Drill a small hole into the back for the power cord so they can be plugged in inside the drawer. I wouldn't leave them powered up in there though, it might get too hot. You could also rig a small bin on the back of such an end table that would let you store the laptop vertically behind the end table, preferably of wire construction so that heat could dissapate. I am thinking kind of like those bins outside of examining rooms into which they place the medical charts.
posted by caddis at 8:05 AM on January 20, 2007

That upright basket sounds good, but make sure your laptop is turned off and/or doesn't get too hot while charging, as it could easily overheat in an foam lined box with no ventilation.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:32 AM on January 20, 2007

My S.O. and I have the same problem - she picked up one of these from Target (part of the 'my house' collection I believe - $129+tax). We can slide the notebooks in and out of the space right below the top surface and we keep power adapters (extra ones we purchased on ebay) tucked under the couch but within reach, constantly plugged in behind the couch with low-profile right angle extension cords. Everything is for the most part hidden and the laptops are still within arm's reach. Good luck to you!
posted by datacenter refugee at 10:23 AM on January 20, 2007

Two words: Storage Ottoman.
posted by jferg at 4:35 PM on January 20, 2007

i have a tiny apartment and no room for clutter. i use a bed tray (the kind with legs) like this when im in the bed or sitting on the futon, and then just close it, and slide the whole thing under the futon when i'm done.
posted by lunachic at 6:14 PM on January 20, 2007

Response by poster: Oh I have a storage ottoman! Its got a whole bunch of blankets and pillows in it. Plus I can't put a plugged-in computer in it.

I think I'm going to go with either an upright lined box between the sofa and the table or caddis's idea of a rack attached to the back of the table.

Thanks all for your ideas!
It worked!
posted by Thrillhouse at 6:19 PM on January 20, 2007

Instead of going to all the trouble of making a box, what about a magazine rack? If you are worried about scratching the laptop, there are canvas or wicker ones. I've also seen these neat little "leather" boxes at Walmart that would probably fit on the floor between the couch and the end table. You could leave the laptop plugged in and just slide it in when you're finished with it.
posted by rcavett at 8:04 PM on January 21, 2007

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